Media charged on data-driven reportage to boost confidence in government
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has tasked the media on the need to promote aggressive data-driven reporting and information dissemination in order to increase people’s confidence in government’s policies.
Speaking at a media dialogue on data driven reporting and dissemination of NDHS organized by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the minister who advocated best practices on data usage and dissemination, observed that data informs policy decisions and enhance advocacy and public awareness on priority development issues.
According to him, “Data is at the heart of evidence generation while data collection and dissemination are essential elements to both policy-making, evaluation function, enhanced advocacy and public awareness on priority development issues.”
The minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director/Head Child Rights Information Bureau in the ministry, Olumide Osanyinpeju, noted that both Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) are survey initiatives designed to assist countries, Nigeria inclusive, in filling data gaps for monitoring human development in general and the situation of children and women in particular.
He stated that these surveys have been instrumental in strengthening national statistics capacities, highlighting and filling gaps in quality data, monitoring and tracking progress toward national and international development goals like the SDGs and, in identifying emerging issues and disparities among groups in societies.
Alhaji Mohammed said collecting quality data is necessary, but not sufficient, as data must also be disseminated in a user-friendly way to ensure that they are understood and used.
Making a presentation on, “The Concept of Journalism for Change and Precision and Data Journalism, Adjunct Faculty at the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University, Mr Chido Nwakanma, noted that journalism for social change deploys all tools of communication availability in a purposive manner to the goal of reforming public policy.
He said, “Practitioners of journalism for social change deploy the tools of information age to tackle specific social problems. It exposes injustice, failings in service delivery, oppression of groups and individuals and absence of required public facilities in given areas.”
Nwakanma, however, noted that citizen journalists have disrupted news-media ecosystems by challenging the veracity and representativeness of information fowing from mainstream news media through active involvement of non-journalist citizens in the creation, curation and publication of news content deploying the new technological platforms enabled by convergence.
Also speaking, UNICEF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Maureen Zubie-Okolo, observed that information on child health and survival could help policymakers and programme managers assess the efficacy of current strategies, formulate appropriate interventions to prevent deaths from childhood illnesses, and improve the health of children in Nigeria.
She lamented that data from the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) report showed that only 31 per cent of Nigerian children have received all the basic routine vaccination while 19 per cent of children have not received any immunisation.